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If you like to watch streams of online pokies or other online casino games on Twitch, prepare for a shift in content. On Tuesday, Twitch made a monumental announcement pertaining to gambling streams on its platform.
Starting October 18, streams of gambling sites that are not licensed in the United States or other select regions will not be allowed on the platform. Gambling streams have long been a controversial topic on the platform, and this announcement was not unexpected. However, online poker streams will still be available on the platform.
On Tuesday, Twitch made a blockbuster announcement on Twitter related to gambling streams. Starting October 18, Twitch will “prohibit streaming of gambling sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games that aren’t licensed either in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection.” The announcement then listed a number of gambling sites, including Bitcoin gambling sites.
The announcement also reveals that some forms of online gambling, particularly online poker, can continue streaming. The announcement came after growing pressure from Twitch streamers and viewers continued to mount. Several prominent streamers are planning to boycott the platform later this year over the issue.
It is important that everyone pay attention to the wording of the gambling ban. The ban stopped short of banning all content related to pokies, roulette, and dice games. Instead, it is banning streams from sites that are not legal in the United States or jurisdictions like the United Kingdom.
The ban did not specify which countries or websites outside of the United States will be allowed. However, it is sufficient to assume that websites in countries where online gambling is licensed and regulated will be allowed.
This will certainly mean a drop in the amount of content across the board and the near elimination of all crypto online gambling. Also, there are only a handful of U.S. states where online gambling is legal. This will likely mean that we will start to see content from many of the same websites across the platform.
In an interesting twist, online poker streams are not part of this ban. This is actually quite surprising, seeing that there are multiple popular online poker sites that don’t hold a licence in the United States. America’s Cardroom, GGPoker, and the international versions of partypoker and PokerStars are among those sites.
Another reason that online poker may have avoided a ban is that many consider poker a game of skill. While players understand poker is a skillful game, there is still a luck element to the game. However, many argue the skill element outweighs any luck aspects.
While Twitch has taken a major step toward blocking unlicensed gambling, some feel it is not enough. There are still many voices that believe that all forms of gambling should be banned on Twitch. The Washington Post spoke with Christine Reilly, senior research director for the Internation Center for Responsible Gambling. She is sceptical about the effectiveness of the ban.
According to Reilly, “Restricting access to sites that are regulated could be helpful, but consumer protections tend to vary in the online space. I’d be interested to know how [Twitch] defines consumer protection — do [gambling sites] allow customers to self-exclude, track transactions, and send warning messages if excessive gambling is detected, or provide information on getting help with gambling problems?”
It will be interesting to see the impact of this ban on gambling content. Will streamers merely switch to another platform to continue playing, or will there be a significant drop in overall content? Also, are future bans in Twitch’s future? As online gambling becomes regulated in the United States and other parts of the world, Twitch may stop short of a complete ban as to cater to future potential legal gambling markets.